House Keeping

After about 8 years of writing on Amishrobot something went horribly wrong with my database. Unfortunately, my lack of writing lately also coincided with a lack of backing up my database. None of the entries are lost, they are just in a format that is a pain to deal with. In the process of fixing things I decided to switch to a new blogging system. So, things are going to be ugly around here for a while. Broken links, missing images and content will abound.

The old site is here http://www.amishrobot.com/old/.

Hitting the Wall

My summer job in college was working for my volleyball coach. We would travel around putting on volleyball camps at high schools.

We drove or flew out to random high schools in places like Arco Idaho, or Truth or Consequences New Mexico, and spent a few days coaching volleyball teams. We usually stayed with the coaches or a parent of a player and they would somehow feel obligated to feed and entertain us as well. So my days consisted of waking up, coaching and playing volleyball, maybe work out, and then go water skiiing or horse back riding or fishing. We would be back home for the weekends. A pretty amazing job really.

The one downside was that I always got the 9th grade girls to coach. Supposedly this was because it was my first year doing it, but I suspect it may have had something to do with the fact that though I played for the best, or one of the best, teams in the nation, I never really seemed to bother learning anything beyond my own position. I could always tell the middle hitters exactly where they should be and what they should be doing, but outside hitting? Back row? Oh, let’s not even talk about me teaching people to set. Picture Shaq teaching people to shoot free throws.

A side note: I found the best way to coach 9th grade girls was to make them run lines until they were too tired to be annoying. I intend to use this strategy when my girls get to that age. In fact, my one and a half year old could stand to run some lines right now. She is upstairs screaming “out!” because she has decided sleep is optional.

Back to volleyball camps… After driving back from a camp in Idaho, I dropped my coaching partner off in Salt Lake and headed south to Orem, about a 45 minute drive. I was exhausted and it was a brutally hot day and I was fighting to stay awake. I hadn’t been that tired the rest of the drive, but the fatigue hit me about 10 minutes from home. Ten minutes from pulling into my driveway and I reached that mode where I was pretty sure driving with only one eye shut would be smart, “Only half of me is sleeping!” or the even better, “Let’s see, the road is pretty straight, if I just close my eyes for 5 seconds…”

I was so tired that I had to pull over. I was driving down State Street in Orem, just a few blocks left to go and I couldn’t do it! Pathetically, I could not drive another second. I pulled over behind a Radio Shack, parked, and set my watch to wake me in ten minutes. I closed my eyes and was instantly asleep.

When my watch alarm went off I just heard a crazy beeping noise, a horn maybe? and woke up sitting in the driver’s seat of my car with my hands on the steering wheel looking at a brick wall. I yelled, stomped on the brakes, and I hate to admit this, but I HONKED the horn. I honked the horn at a brick wall. “Get out of my way brick wall that has somehow appeared in the middle of the road! Get out of my way! How did this wall get in the middle of the road!? This is really poor urban planning! If I survive I am going to write to the Mayor!” I managed to stop just inches from the wall. Nice driving Josh! When I was awake enough to know what just happened and my heart had stopped pounding I drove off before anyone came to investigate the random horn blast.

I would be embarrassed to tell the story except that, seriously, that was a pretty mellow reaction for having a giant brick wall appear in front of your car.

All Things Considered

My wife is not impressed with my extensive knowledge of all subjects.

I want her to exclaim “You are a boy genius!” when she says, “Have you heard of Sukkot? and I say, “Oh, the feast of the tabernacles?” Instead she just says, “Yeah”.

When I ask why she isn’t impressed she says, “I just expect you to know everything”, which is nice, but the right answer is, “How can any mortal man have so much knowledge? They should give you an honorary doctorate in All Things.”

Landlubbers Exasperate Me

An email exchange between Mark and me. It would help if you knew that Mark had talked about moving to Olympia and living on a boat.

On Wed, Jun 18, 2008 at 11:44 AM, Mark wrote:

Seriously, do it!

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/liveaboard-retired-tugboat-for-sale-053869

12:01 PM, Josh wrote:

Oh my gosh!

Now you are seriously regretting your SF move! I will buy the tugboat and store it for you until you get out here.

12:01 PM, Mark wrote:

Um, couldn’t I just buy it and sail it down here?

12:11 PM, Josh wrote:

Wow, you really don’t understand boats do you? She was designed for Pudget Sound water. Once you got her down off the coast of California she would immediately sink.

Landlubber!

12:13 PM, Mark wrote:

Really?

12:16 PM, Josh wrote:

No.

You should buy it and sail it down there smoking a pipe all the way. That would be the best thing ever.

12:22 PM, Mark wrote:

So it wouldn’t sink? Because for a minute, I was trying to gauge your seafaring knowledge. Here is my scorecard:

REASONS JOSH MIGHT KNOW WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT

  1. He has lived in a port town for a few months now, and probably hangs out with crusty old sailors.
  2. He does own a peacoat
  3. He correctly referred to the boat as “she”
  4. He called me a landlubber

REASONS JOSH MIGHT NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT

  1. He is really tall, and probably wouldn’t last long on open water
  2. I think his peacoat is from someplace like Gap, which is not super authentic
  3. He does not have a beard. That seems sort of key.
  4. He is a liar
12:50 PM, Josh wrote:

I admire your methodical approach towards establishing my credibility. Another easy way would be to check out my profile card on tugboatr.com

I attached a screenshot for you.

saltydog

Respect my System Tray!

I cannot tell you how badly I would like to punch the person who decided that the “Integrity Checkpoint Agent” should constantly animate to display my network activity. If you designed it, do the right thing, and punch yourself.

All day long my eye darts over to see what that movement is and it is NEVER something I need to pay attention to. I am not a network admin or a security consultant or downloading torrents at work. Your app has NO importance to me. And yet, there it is, blinking away constantly, “Look at me! Look at me!”

Ignore the flashing camera icon, that is just SnagIt telling me that it is recording – feedback that was actually useful to me.

Proverbs

Inspired by Gilbert’s link, I decided to try asking my kindergartner to finish some proverbs. Though at times he seemed to just be attempting to rhyme, I think you will find deep wisdom here.

Better to be safe than… sorry
Strike while the… you are strong
It’s always darkest before… day
Never underestimate the power of… stress
You can lead a horse to water but… it will drink that water
Don’t bite the hand that… plays the band
No news is… perfect
A miss is as good as a… mister
You can’t teach an old dog new… tricks
If you lie down with dogs, you’ll… get peed on
Love all, trust… all
The pen is mightier than the… pin
An idle mind is… blank
Where there’s smoke there’s… a fire
A penny saved is… worth more
Two’s company, three’s… cheese
Don’t put off till tomorrow what… you need to do
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and… die
None are so blind as… mice
Children should be seen and not… be mean to them
If at first you don’t succeed… keep moving forward
You get out of something what you… need
When the blind leadeth the blind… they get lost
Better late than… really late

Tap tap tap… Anyone out there?

I have had a blog since sometime in early 2000 and I think since about April of 2002 I have posted at least something every month, until late last year where I stopped writing. No big dramatic reason either. I somehow just stopped. Kind of the way I am with shaving, and the reason I end up with a beard every so often.

I think I may have just implied that I grow a beard when I stop writing… Since I don’t have a beard, it must be time to start writing again.

Now, a benefit of not having written anything in a few months–I have gotten rid of everyone but the true believers! OK, now that everyone else is gone, get out your Amishrobot secret decoder rings out.

Ready?

30BB3DE4-361F-462A-BBB4-6E83402274CF.jpeg > Beginning Transmission…

YTCLO HKYIO UROER OUEEN EOHLE WOHLE WEOTW NADRD UCCVE YDUTI C

Knock yourselves out.*

(Nerds might call this post “meta blogging” and they would say it is the worst thing ever. I think people that say things like “meta blogging” are the worst thing ever.)

(Yes, that is a real secret code.)

*Hint: Columnar Transposition

What’s Up Now Timpanogos!?

I wanted to go back up Timp again the same day of my initial retreat but the weather had turned a little stormy. I ended up going back just a couple days later with my brothers-in-law, both of whom are former cross country standouts. I made the mistake of letting one of them take the lead for a while. Joel, I hope no offense is taken, but I was contemplating pushing you off the cliff if I caught up with you.

Besides the whole “never hike with cross country runners” lesson, I also learned to never go hiking when you have recently fasted, have only slept for one hour, have an upset stomach, and when you are really out of shape. It was a pretty brutal hike for me, but I will have you know that kid that passed me was actually 8 years old. He only looked like a 4 year old.

Someday I may want to hike Timp again, but at least now it stops looking at me all uppity–like.

Some photos from the hike:

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snort

Timpooneke at 3amOK, who votes I never try another solo nighttime hike of Mount Timpanogos? I’m with you. It really seemed like a good idea to me. Some good alone time and a chance to maybe watch the sunrise from the peak. I left at 3am friday morning. It was a beautiful out and I saw several baby deer running awkwardly on the side of the road as I drove to the trailhead by Timpooneke campground. I have never hiked Timp before and I was really excited. It was pitch black and the trees were pretty thick and there was mist glowing in my headlamp as I headed up the trail. It was beautiful, but I have to admit that knowing there had been bear trouble in the area not long ago, along with all the signs telling you how to avoid a bear attack made it feel a little creepy too.

I was making good time and feeling great. I combatted my nervousness and the danger of surprising a bear by hiking loudly. I sumo-stomped my way up the trail and, like a Shinto priest, I blessed corners and particularly dark and dense areas with hand claps. When I reached an area of switchbacks with boardwalks next to a stream I took the opportunity to pound them with my feet like drums. As I stomped across one of the boardwalks I noticed that there were muddy splashes of water at regular intervals on it. “Hmmm… I wonder if someone is on the trail ahead of me…?” They were still completely wet, so whoever it was was probably close by, and though the shapes were not very clear, they looked a lot more like paw or huge hoof prints than people prints. I glanced back at where I had crossed the stream and my blobby footprint had pushed the mud down about half an inch. Next to it, a big mushy print a good 3 inches deep. As I stood there playing animal tracker something very big crashed through the brush in front of me.

My heart pounded and I stomped my feet and clapped my hands and whatever it was started moving again. I couldn’t tell if it was towards me or away from me, but it was for sure a very large animal. It sounded like it was knocking trees over. “Hey!” Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! I pounded my feet on the boardwalk. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! It moved away from me a little and stopped again. “Don’t make me kick you in the face!” Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! It moved a little further. It was hard to tell, in the pitch black, how far away it was now. Maybe 50 feet? I scanned the trees and brush with my headlamp trying to catch a glimpse of whatever was out there… GLOWING EYES stared back at me. I am sure I gasped audibly. My split second thought process was, Moose? Bear? If moose I should not antagonize it any further unless I wanted to be trampled. If a bear I should antagonize it as much as possible so as not to be mauled. The eyes weren’t as high as I imagined a moose’s should be, though who are we kidding, it was pitch black and I wasn’t exactly calmly measuring the thing. I went with the bear plan and clapped my hands and yelled, “Move it!” The eyes disappeared and I heard it move off a bit further.

I stood on the trail still frozen. I really wasn’t expecting to see those large glowing eyes so close to me and I couldn’t tell exactly where moosebearbigfoot had gone, but it seemed to be right on the corner of the switchback where I needed to go and I couldn’t tell if it had anywhere to go from there or if I had just cornered it. I now understand better how people die climbing mountains in storms that would cause a reasonable person to turn back. In spite of the large unseen animal in my path, I really didn’t want to turn back.

I thought I would check how far it had gone and if I could drive it off a little further so I could pass. I took a step forward and clapped. It ANSWERED ME with a short, very loud, growly snort/roar! Just picture for a moment that coming out of the blackness. A solid sheet of sweat poured from my forehead. If animals really can smell fear I may have been safe because my stench would have overpowered him. “You win!” I shouted as I tried to walk backwards slowly and not turn and run. It was hard to walk backwards down a mountain over rocky streams and I gave up fairly quickly and settled for walking at a moderate pace while slamming my feet down so hard that I must have crushed rocks. I sneaked glances over my shoulder every couple of steps while laughing nervously and taunting moosebear so it would know I was not afraid, that I was just walking back down the mountain because it turned out the mountain sucked and only a stupid moosebear would want to be on it anyway, and since I am not afraid it would be a really bad idea to come stomp and/or claw me to death.

Right before I hit the save button on this my brothers-in-law called and asked if I wanted to try hiking it again tomorrow morning. Of course I do. Look out moosebear, here we come.

PS – I stand by what I wrote here. If it had been a lion things would have been totally different.

PPS – Here are some pics of Timp so you understand why I need to climb it. Timp

Office View Two

Early Morning Timpanogos

Better Pilot Training Could Have Really Prevented Those Crashes

Last night I was watching a show about Kamikaze pilots. They showed some clips of actual kamikazes attacking ships and had CGI recreations as well. I was made aware that my five year old had gotten out of bed and was also watching from a perch on the stairs when he said, “Those guys are the worst pilots in the world!”

Death or Glory

I am visiting my brother Joe in Olympia. We decided that it would be a good idea to run really fast and try to spin around this pole and get our feet out horizontal and slip and knock our teeth out.

There were a lot of kids at the playground but they were kind of dumb and not very strong and not as good at using the toys as we were. If you look carefully in some of the photos you can see a parent watching in the background awestruck by my power and agility.

Joe documented my attempt at glory. As you can see, I am amazing. In the last photo I am not so much laughing as wondering where I am.

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Legal Advice

Today I drove past a minivan tailgating a car in the carpool lane to my left. The thing that made this interesting was not just that a piece of junk minivan was frustrated by how slow the car in front of it was, no, the interesting part was that the car in front was a $250,000 Ferrari going about 53mph in a 65mph zone even though its top speed is probably 200mph. I also found it especially interesting that the Ferrari was in the carpool lane even though the only person in it was the 30ish female driver with a giant blonde ponytail and sunglasses with lenses the size of pumpkins.

I’ve been reading and researching on website after website looking for legal advice and I’ve begun to be frustrated. Are there any attorneys out there that could confirm for me that I was within my rights when I ran her off the road? Thanks.